Friday, April 11, 2008

Is Durham Missing the Bandwagon?

An influential Raleigh businessman, for whom I have great respect, recently told me that Durham was going to miss out and be left behind if it didn’t get on the same bandwagon as Raleigh.

We’re delighted Raleigh is doing well, and I’m almost certain that, at one time, when the communities in this area were much smaller, someone probably made the argument that they needed to huddle together to be taken seriously or to be cosmopolitan or to look larger than they really were. But much of that was driven, as it is now, by what a Raleigh news executive once termed “Charlotte-envy.”

Today, when each community now anchors a metropolitan area, the “we need to appear bigger” argument doesn’t get any traction.

Mainstreamers have always thought people who did things differently were missing out. It is no different with communities. Durham definitely does things differently, but just a glance through 300+ Great Things About Durham confirms that being different, if anything, appears to be working very well for Durham. Few communities perform so well in so many areas.

But Durham doesn’t sit back. It strives to improve in every area, and a glance back over just the third-party rankings Durham has received would indicate that Durham’s own bandwagon is doing just fine… if not stellar… in a country with 34,000 places:
  • #2 Best Green Cities For Lifestyle and Quality of Life ~Country Home
  • #3 Best Small City for Relocating Families ~Worldwide ERC and Primacy Relocation
  • #6 for bird counting lists submitted ~Great Backyard Bird Count
  • #7 for Business and Careers ~Forbes
  • #12 Top 100 places to live and launch your own business ~Fortune Small Business
  • #15 Best Place to Live in the USA ~Bert Sperling’s City’s Ranked & Rated
  • #16 Best Green Places (overall) in America ~Country Home
  • #26 City Where Business Opportunity Is Greatest For Growing Companies
  • #37 Best Walking City ~Prevention
  • #45 Hottest Business market in the Country ~Inc. Magazine
  • Tree City USA for 24th year ~National Arbor Day Foundation
  • Top Ten Tech Town ~Wired
  • 100 Best Communities for Young People ~America’s Promise - The Alliance for Youth
  • 100 Best Communities for Music Education ~American Music Conference

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